I feel very proud of myself for giving birth “naturally”.  It was always a goal of mine to go for as long as possible without such interventions as pitocin or an epidural.  I wasn’t going to be a Nazi about it, but I was a “wait and see” kinda gal.  However, I feel the need to disclose that I had one of world’s fastest labors.  Friends and family are aghast when I tell them just how quickly I was in, and done.  Nature was kind to me.  I am aware of this.

On Tuesday evening, my sister and I went to the Glendale Americana Mall to see “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2”.  I got up only once to pee.  As I waddled briskly down the red-carpeted hallway towards the ladies room, I felt a distinct pressure in a very low place.  I prayed the baby’s head was working his way down toward his exit.  “It” could begin at any time.  I was 39 1/2 weeks.  Oh and, incidentally, when asked how the film was, my sister said, “It was like the first one.  Only with more hot guys.”  I could not have put this better myself!

On Wednesday I woke up with a dull cramping “down there” and, to my dismay, Hubby was off at work and my sister had left a note saying she was at the gym.  I called my mother to whine.  We decided over the telephone that since the cramps didn’t travel from “back to front” they must be nothing serious.

I waited.

By 3:00pm Wednesday the cramping had begun to come with more frequency.  I watched Oprah.  My sister picked up lunch.

5:00pm Wednesday, I sit upon my exercise ball and ask my sister to start charting the contractions, which still have not felt like much more than bad menstrual cramps.  I poke my belly asking, “Is this hardness more hard than normal?”  I feel like such a dweeb.

Over the next few hours, I insist my Hubby wrap up at work and come home.  I seriously want him to rub my back.  My parents decide to hop on a flight down to LA, just in case this is “it”.

10:30pm Wednesday, Mom and Dad walk in the door with their luggage and a few clever jokes.  I am sitting on my ball still, gripping the unopened box containing the baby highchair.  I am bummed that the pain is too strong to even watch Project Runway.  My contractions are now about 5 minutes apart, sometimes less.  So we decide to go.  I pray that I am not one of those women who checks in to the hospital, only to get sent home again because it isn’t time.

11:00pm Wednesday, I check in via the Emergency Room.  Two dozen people stare at me from their seats in the waiting room so I shut my eyes tight to block them out.  The moment I sit down in the hospital wheelchair, I feel relaxed.  I will not be having my baby in the car.  My L&D nurse, Barbara, is a fantastic lady.  She asks me a series of questions about my intentions and prepares to give me an IV.  Suddenly I hurl all over the place, Exorcist-style.  All over myself, the bed, the floor.  I am whisked into the shower and a janitor is summoned.  Apparently the Trader Joe’s goat cheese salad is the WORST thing one could eat on the day of giving birth because it smells really bad coming back up.  I’ll remember this for next time.

Once back in bed, Barbara does a check and tells me I’m already 5 centimeters dialated!  Such great news.  I hem and haw over whether or not to say yes to an epidural.  The Olympic Men’s Gymnastics plays on TV overhead, and I decide to wait and see.  In no time at all, I am at 7 centimeters.  I ask myself if I can handle any pain worse than the contractions I am feeling.  It’s pretty God-awful, so I say okay to the epidural.  The anesthesiologist is with another mother, so I am next in line.  My mom gives me her nod of approval.

Then, my water breaks and I seriously freak out.  Seriously.  Freak out.  It’s not the cute trickle that you see in movies and TV.  I gush and it feels horrid.  I cry like Drew Barrymore does in “Scream”.  Everyone has to calm me down because I’ve started to lose my mind.  I wish I was back at the movies watching cheesy 4-girl friendship!  Barbara checks me and I am at 9 and a half centimeters.  Time to push.  An epidural would only slow me down.

After this, my labor went down something like the movie “Knocked Up”.  My doctor, who shall go unnamed, was literally annoyed with me because I didn’t know how to push.  I was not yelling at anyone or cursing, but I was apparently not calm and he let me know of it.  Luckily, Barbara talked me through a few contractions and I got the hang of it.  I was terrified of the pain of my “natural” birth.  It seemed like it was going to hurt more than anything, but quite the contrary.  They weren’t lying when they told me the worst was over.  I just had to keep holding my breath and pushing.  It’s hard to tell a Musical Theater kid to take a FAST deep breath and hold it.  These bitches obviously didn’t understand my lung capacity.  A deep breath for me is DEEP, and I would suck it in all yoga style, while baby’s head slid back in and I undid the pushing I had just done.  Great.

2:21am Thursday, he was born.  He was whisked away to get cleaned up and I got to enjoy some major stitches.  Episiotomy, yes.  I had one.  I didn’t much care about anything when the doctor whipped out those scissors and did what needed to be done to get baby’s head out.  And then, I was the luckiest girl in the world because I was finished and it had been about 3 1/2 hours.  I heard the soft infant cries and they were so lovely.  Then they showed him to me, smushed face and ghost-white skin.  Apparently, I just said, “Oh.”

So there you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen.  I am not a hero.  I didn’t pummel through 20 hours.  But I am a mother, and it feels great.  My baby is a gem.  I will continue to blog about this new chapter in my life.  Thank you for reading.

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